Jour 4470 Blog 1
By: Michael Haake
The world gets faster and smarter with the continuing advancement of technology. The Internet allows us to post a thought or idea on social media for the entire world to see with a forceful push on the enter key. With this insanely fast technology, it’s really easy for someone to say something that they end up regretting seconds after posting it. Sure, they can delete the Tweet or status, but there is no guarantee that the Tweet or comment did not get seen during the small amount of time it was published. It seems like there is a story everyday about some athlete or celebrity posting something controversial on Twitter. We all need to think before we Tweet. The need for ethics in business, media and personal Tweeting is at an all-time high.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of idiots out there on the web. What these people don’t realize is that everything they post is a direct reflection on not only themselves, but also to their family, friends, employers and business partners.
My personal favorite example comes to us from @ChryslerAutos. An upset and now unknown New Media Strategies employee was driving in Detroit when he or she dropped the F-bomb on Chrysler’s official Twitter. The Tweet also took a shot at the city of Detroit, the home of Chrysler Group LLC.
The employee who posted this was under the impression that he or she was posting on a personal Twitter account. Maybe it’s just me, but whenever I sign in to Twitter I see a nice little picture of myself smiling back at me. I guess this person forgot that his or her name wasn’t Chrysler Autos. The Tweet was eventually taken down, but it came at a very hefty price. New Media Solutions lost the account and now they get to explain how and why this incident happened to every potential new business partner smart enough to use Google. The unobservant employee who gave us this shinning, unethical Twitter gold was fired within hours of this Tweet.
Twitter not only allows businesses to reach thousands of people, it also provides the opportunity for a single employee to start a media fire that only the public relations department can put out. Let’s be smarter with social media people.
In my Twitter lifetime, the groups of people that most often find themselves in the midst of Twitter controversy are athletes. In the case of my news feed, it’s usually NFL wide receivers and running backs. It’s weird, I’ve never seen a kicker or a long snapper tweet about 9/11 or how they are enjoying a lockout. Here are a couple examples from running backs Rashard Mendenhall (Steelers) and Reggie Bush (Saints at the time and now Dolphins), enjoy.
Do you think the owners and general managers for the teams of these two players were happy when this happened? I’d put my money on the not-so-happy side of the table. Tweets like these have caused the NFL to take action on players who willingly choose to cause online controversy.
Twitter became such an increasingly big issue that the NFL had to implement a social media code of conduct. Players are still allowed to Tweet, however they cannot Tweet 90-minutes before games and are also banned from Twitter until all post game interviews are complete. Even with the new Twitter policy, players still manage to post unethical and downright stupid things for the entire world of sports-dorks such as myself to see.
Mr. Mendenhall, thanks for your political insight regarding the killing of Osama bin Laden, but I’ll get my political news from someone who isn’t wearing a hoodie in his profile picture.
So what have we learned? Well, we learned that Twitter can be used as a means to kill a business such as New Media Strategies. (I wonder if that employee ever found a job in the social media industry after that… probably not). It is important to remember that other people are affected when you need to get something off of your chest via Twitter. So, before you call out an entire city of drivers take a deep breath and think about the way you are going to say it, or at least make sure you’re on your personal account.
Without some form of ethics, Tweets like these would be even more commonplace than they are today. These Tweets can fall under an array of genres. The adjectives idiotic, senseless and unethical describe them pretty well. Whatever you deem them, they are bad for business. Until Microsoft or Twitter invents an ethical checker that can warn individuals that his or her 160-characters might not be a good statement to post, unethical and careless Tweets will continue to clog up our news feeds.